Interview with Candice Lambert, Sales and Events Manager

1/ Can you tell us more about your career path?
As part of my agricultural engineering studies, I did an internship at a winery near Baux-de-Provence. This experience was a revelation for me, for a number of reasons:
– The varied aspects of the job;
– The conviviality, the sharing, the emotions;
– Working in an exceptional natural setting;
– Wine and gastronomy.

I then took a 2-year Master’s degree in Viticulture-Oenology in Montpellier and Bordeaux, which gave me access to the Diplôme National d’Œnologue. At the end of this course, I had the chance to write my thesis and work at the famous Château Margaux in the Bordeaux region.

To broaden my horizons, I also went off to make wine in different parts of the world, such as New Zealand and the United States. Finally, I settled in the southern Rhône Valley (Gigondas and Beaumes-de-Venise), a region where the climate, the song of the cicadas and, above all, the wines warm the heart.

2/ How did you come to work for Vignoble du Château de Bousval?
I’d been following the estate on social networks for several years until the day they posted a job offer on the Internet. My desire to spend more time with my loved ones after 10 years abroad, my desire to tackle a different aspect of my job and take on a new challenge, and the estate’s philosophy were all factors that prompted me to apply.
I had a very good contact with Michel Verhaeghe, the founder and the rest of the team, and that’s how my story at Bousval started.

3/ What’s your role?
I’m in charge of all sales and events at the winery.
This involves prospecting for new national and international customers, creating new partnerships, following up on requests from existing customers, organizing and managing events at the estate, and devising and implementing new strategies for the vineyard’s commercial development.
My priorities are customer loyalty, customer satisfaction and growing the vineyard’s reputation.

Of course, these tasks are not limitative, and I’m always ready to help my colleagues if needed in the vineyard, the cellar or the office.

4/ What’s your typical day at the vineyard?
I don’t really have a “typical” day, and that’s what’s so exciting about my job.
Some days will be more devoted to sales: prospecting, following up customers and responding to their requests, welcoming existing or potential customers to the estate or going out to meet them, taking part in national or international trade shows, managing the collection of orders, etc…

Other days are devoted to events. I then draw up personalized offers for requests for events at the winery. I look for new ideas and new partners, and organize and manage the events on the schedule, in collaboration with different trades: caterer, architect, event organizer, etc., so that the customer experience is always of the highest quality.

5/ In your opinion, what’s the most difficult part of your job? And what’s the greatest pleasure?
I see three difficulties, although I see them more as challenges:

– Belgium is best known for its beer production, so we now need to promote our wines;
– Customers sometimes find it hard to think outside the box; they’re loyal to the classics, the wines of the old world – France, Italy, Spain and so on.
– Justifying the prices of Belgian wines is also a challenge: there are no inherited estates, we’re starting from scratch (investments, manpower, services, suppliers, etc.).

There are signs of positive progress in all these areas, which is promising and very encouraging.

My greatest pleasure? Of course, it’s the good feedback from our private and professional customers on our wines and marcs. Or when participants in an event at the winery leave with smiles on their faces and tell us they’ve had a great time.

6/ What are your passions outside winegrowing?
I recharge my batteries by getting in touch with nature through travelling, hiking or reading a good book by a tree or by the fire.

I’m always up for the idea of trying out a good restaurant, going ice-skating, skydiving, seeing a ballet or a play, and so on. In short, activities that are a little out of the ordinary.

7/ Do you have any anecdotes or fond memories of Château de Bousval to share with us?
I haven’t been here very long, so it’s not easy to answer this question. But I would say that one of the most charming aspects of working at the Château de Bousval vineyard is without doubt the constant good humor of the close-knit team I work with.

And of course, arriving each morning in this natural environment and being greeted, depending on the day, by either a gang of pheasants, a family of hares, or a grey heron (to name but a few species). Yes, the fauna in Bousval is very diverse), doesn’t leave me unmoved.